November 19 marked another night of success for Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars semifinalist Melissa Rycroft, who once again impressed the judging trio with her ballroom skills. But was her Caveman Hustle with partner Tony Dovolani good enough to seal the deal with voters just a week shy of the finals?
Melissa entered the practice session riding high on a pair of perfect scores earned during last week’s show. She asserted that being the sole remaining semifinalist without a Mirrorball Trophy—Shawn Johnson, Apolo Ohno, Emmitt Smith, and Kelly Monaco all won their respective seasons—motivated her to “fight harder.”
But the task she and Tony faced wasn’t an easy one, given the so-called Offbeat Challenge Caveman Hustle assigned to them by competitors Kelly and Val Chmerkovskiy. Melissa had no idea how to make the dance fusion work, and worried that “it could easily become stupid.” Even the usually put-together Tony struggled with finding inspiration. Worse yet, Tony injured his back during Sunday’s rehearsals, which could well have spelled disaster for the duo.
Fortunately for Melissa and Tony, they pulled it together by showtime and delivered a fun and funky routine. They certainly looked the part of cave people, and Tony’s back held up through a series of impressive lifts.
Len Goodman responded with admiration, quipping, “Fred and Wilma have never danced so well,” and “it was the hustle with no hassle.” Bruno Tonioli appreciated their “effective use of animal skins” but noted a few turns that were off kilter. Carrie Ann Inaba called the effort, “the perfect way to bring the two most random sections together.” Still, she agreed with Bruno on the balance issues during the Hustle portion of the number.
Melissa and Tony earned a 27.5 for their Hustle. Their complete semifinal score of 57.5 out of 60 possible points puts them in second place behind leaders Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough entering tonight’s dramatic double elimination.
Will Melissa Rycroft be granted the right to compete in next week’s finals? Watch the Dancing with the Stars All Stars 2012 semifinals results show on ABC to find out.